Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Whitney Houston 'crack ho' slur on LA radio: Look who's talking

Black people everywhere, who have never even heard of the 'The John & Ken Show' in LA, are in an uproar about the two white radio hosts who called Whitney Houston a 'crack ho' on air and made other offensive comments. Far worse is the everyday use of the 'ho' word by blacks.

(Page 2 of 2)

I could go on and on, from city to city, radio station to radio station and still come up with the same examples.

Skip to next paragraph

But it’s not just radio that helps to keep the word ho alive in black America. Thanks to CD players and iPods where censoring is not even an issue, much worse is played in the cars and homes of many of the same black people offended by John’s and Ken’s characterization of Houston.

So while these hosts were undeniably wrong in their demeaning choice of words about Houston, the reality is that they are two white guys on the radio in Los Angeles who have a majority conservative white audience they play to. And even if they used the word ho everyday to describe black women, they still wouldn’t come close to the damage that continues to be done on a daily basis in the black community with our own use of the word.

Black children and teenagers are not listening to KFI but they are listening to Mommy and Daddy enjoy those songs, watching MTV and BET, and listening to music that says much worse than what was uttered by John and Ken. Last Thursday, in a statement, John Kobylt said, “We made a mistake, and we accept the station’s decision. We used language that was inappropriate, and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.”

When was the last time a rapper apologized for using everyday derogatory words?


John and Ken apologized and were suspended. Is it enough? I think so. The chances of them describing a black woman on air this way again are slim to none.

Protesting to extend their suspension or boycotting KFI and its advertisers, even if it were successful, would do nothing to change blacks’ own use of the word and that’s really where the issue is.

Whitney Houston was a talented singer who died tragically and wasn’t alive to hear herself being called a “ho.” Millions of other black women, however, hear it every day – either coming out of someone else’s mouth or sadly – their own.

A former press secretary in the California State Assembly and US House of Representatives, Jasmyne A. Cannick writes about the intersection of race, sex, politics, and pop culture from an unapologetically black point of view. Follow her on Twitter @jasmyne and on Facebook at /jasmyne.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Editors' picks

Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!